By Debby Gregorash
The mayor of London once said, “If you are losing an election — throw a dead cat on the table. Everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table.’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat, the thing you want them to talk about, and they will not be talking about the issue causing you so much grief.”
People who do not keep up with current events are missing the exact nature of the issues we really should be discussing during this election. Folks avoiding “politics” are unaware of the damage Harper has already caused to Canada’s reputation. The thought of this man back in charge is worrisome.
Stephen Harper has hired Australian strategist Lynton Crosby to help him win the election. Crosby is known as a master of “dog whistle politics” and has helped many politicians in the Commonwealth to win their elections. He caters to the core of conservative voters and those with xenophobia (fear of people who are different from them) and appeals to their fear of immigrants, especially right now — Muslims.
Harper’s Supreme Court fight against two (yes, only two) women) wearing a niqab at a Canadian citizenship oath-taking is like throwing a dead cat onto the election table. The unmentioned truth is the women are obliged to uncover their faces to take the oath in a private room in front of other women, so this dead-cat-on-the-table is bogus. It’s a diversion.
It is a wedge issue that gets some Canadians all in a tizzy, talking about the niqab instead of the important things like Harper’s cuts to health care and education; cuts to veterans services; cuts to programs for women and children across Canada including in Lethbridge; massive cuts to environmental protection including Fisheries and Oceans; cuts to the First Nations Child and Family Society; the destructive muzzling of scientists; and how Canada supplies arms and ammunition to the brutal regime of Saudi Arabia. Harper sold out the Canadian Wheat Board to Saudi Arabia, known for their horrific treatment of women and contempt for human rights in general. If Harper cared about women, he would support a national inquiry on the almost 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women. Harper said in an interview, “It isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.” He’s a cold-hearted man. As well, Prime Minister Harper has almost single-handedly destroyed democracy in Canada. He prorogued Parliament twice — he wants to avoid all discussion of uncomfortable issues and loves omnibus bills. Harper withholds information from Parliament and has cut funding to the Parliamentary Budget officer. He bypassed standard bidding practices for the fighter jets, whose true costs were not made public. He ended the crucial mandatory long-form census. Remember when he tried to bribe MP Chuck Cadman to vote in favour of a CPC proposal?
Harper’s Anti-Terrorist Act Bill C51 allows police and spy agencies much broader powers to detain anyone without warrants — even you and I. Bill C51 makes us more unsafe by stripping us of Charter protection.
Harper has a history of limiting access to the press. Attendees at political functions are carefully chosen. The Conservative Party of Canada candidates are discouraged from attending public forums — presumably, so the candidates won’t have to give answers to serious questions and be found incompetent.
Where is all the news covering the many Conservative politicians charged with various crimes, some which have already led to prison sentences? And the cheating during the last election by the CPC? Finally, why the secret negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal? Because the deals are “corporate rights” treaties that will let them override any existing environmental protection laws, labour laws, and other Canadian protections.
For sure, Harper is sacrificing Canadian agriculture on the altar of Free Trade (like the dairy industry). Goods and services won’t have to be supplied by local companies and jobs won’t have to go to Canadians.